Earlier this week, a 79-year-old man was struck and killed in a hit and run accident as he crossed NW 23rd. The man, Jack McClung, was well-known in the Oklahoma City area as a prominent inventor and creator of Blue Stuff, an emu oil joint relief ointment. McClung was hit at approximately 3:00 p.m. on Sunday. He was transported to OU Medical Center, where he died of his injuries.
Man Killed in Hit and Run Accident
The driver of the vehicle that struck the man fled the scene, but witnesses provided a description of the car: a black four-door Honda or Mazda with a red fender, red front grill, and red pinstripes. Witnesses were unable to get a license plate number, and a helicopter search of the area turned up nothing.
Traffic Stop Leads to Arrest of Suspect
However, during a traffic stop Wednesday night, police made an arrest in the hit-and-run case. Police arrested Wilfredo Lara Gomez on complaints of causing an accident without valid driver's license resulting in death, failure to carry security verification, and leaving the scene of a fatality accident. Bond has been set at $20,500 for each offense, and Gomez remains in the Oklahoma County Jail.
Reports say that law enforcement officers believe the man was planning to leave the country.
Certainly, being involved in a DUI accident or a pedestrian accident can be frightening. There will obviously be criminal penalties that apply to a DUI accident, and there may also be criminal penalties associated with striking a pedestrian if reckless driving, DUI, or an other criminal act led to the accident. An unlicensed motorist or an illegal immigrant will also face scary consequences; however, leaving the scene of a fatality accident carries separate and additional criminal penalties.
Under 47 O.S. 10-102, Oklahoma law explains the penalties for leaving the scene of an injury accident:
"Any person willfully, maliciously, or feloniously failing to stop to avoid detection or prosecution, or to comply with said requirements under such circumstances, shall upon conviction be guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not less than one (1) year nor more than ten (10) years, or by a fine of not less than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) nor more than Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00), or by both such fine and imprisonment."
Legal Defense in Oklahoma
If you are involved in a serious accident, and you realize that you may be criminally prosecuted as a result, it is important to remember that attempting to evade arrest will only make matters more difficult for you. State law requires that you remain at the scene of an accident whether or not an injury has occurred; however, as the severity of the accident increases, so do the associated penalties for leaving the scene. Hit and run drivers rarely if ever get away with their crime, and the additional charges for leaving the scene could add up to 10 years in prison beyond any sentence for the underlying traffic offense. Remain at the scene, decline to answer police questions, and contact an attorney as quickly as possible.